Blackstone Group’s single-family home rental business Invitation Homes quietly filed to go public. In January, the firm plans to sell $1.5 billion in shares in an IPO that could value it at $7.5 billion.
The private equity giant plans to use the money to pay down debt, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Blackstone had previously indicated an Invitation Homes IPO was coming, but didn’t specify timing.
Blackstone has invested $10 billion in buying up 50,000 distressed homes, most of them in the wake of the 2008 crisis, and turned them into rentals.
“We said, ‘Oh my goodness, this could be huge. Nobody is going to be able to borrow, they’re going to need housing,’” Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman told the Journal. “So we went out and started to buy houses to rent to people.”
Blackstone has also sold bonds backed by the homes’ rental income.
Other fund managers such as Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital and Thomas Barrack’s Colony Capital also placed big bets on rental homes. The two businesses merged earlier this year and went public as Colony Starwood Homes. [WSJ] — Konrad Putzier